From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


2/14/2013 9:53:44 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Struggling Learners--Building a Network of Support

HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter
February 2013--Building a Network of Support for Families
Homeschooling Children with Special Needs

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By the HSLDA Special Needs Consultants

Recently, we have had many inquiries about how to find support groups
and local resources that are specific to special needs. One mother
shared her heart's cry, stating, "I need more than an expert to give
me suggestions; I need friends with which to meet regularly." Are
there others out there who have this same need? I'm sure there are.

While many families are already involved in a homeschool support
group, our department often hears from parents who say that they don't
feel like their family "fits in." They sense others within their
support group may not understand or cannot relate to their unique
challenges associated with home educating a child with special needs,
particularly students with severe behavioral and learning needs, such
as children on the autism spectrum, Down syndrome, or behavioral

At other times, members report that their children are not included in
the group, requests for accommodations are not met by co-op teachers,
and a general lack of understanding or compassion seems to exist.

When we hear these things, it saddens us because we know that families
are hurting and in need of support, community, encouragement, and a
"safe place." We think for the most part, it is not that people
intend to disenfranchise and treat those with learning differences,
physical, behavioral, or mental challenges badly, but rather are
acting out of fear, lack of knowledge, insecurity, or are quite
frankly unsure of how to help.

We would like to encourage folks who are involved in support groups
and co-ops to follow Jesus' admonition to "let all the children come."

Places to find support groups:

1. Look for online support groups, chat groups, bulletin board
discussion groups, and blogs. While these definitely are not the same
as having a support system in your own neighborhood, they can still be
a good way to find ideas, exchange experiences, and to connect with
others who are walking a similar path.

Here are a couple to check out:
Yahoo Groups
Special Needs Homeschooling on Facebook
2. One can also find private learning consultants who offer support
and resources for families. Many will offer consultations from a
distance, via web-cam, phone, and email exchanges.

Here are a few, very well-known private consultants who offer support
and resources:

> Joyce Herzog,
> Sharon Hensley, Almaden Valley Christian School,
> Dianne Craft,
> Judith Munday,
> Kathy Kuhl,
> Eckenwiler Family,

Places to Find Support Groups:

> Respite Care--Nathaniel's Hope,

> Check out local churches--many have disabilities ministries
> NATHHAN/CHASK--National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network,
> Key Ministry, ; their
mission is to help churches serve families impacted by disability.
> HSLDA's Support Groups lists,
> Be sure to check out HSLDA's Teaching Tips blog post titled "Making

Recommended Books:

> Just the Way I Am: God's Good Design in Disability by Krista
> Let All the Children Come To Me: A Practical Guide to Including
Children with Disabilities in Your Church by MaLesa Breeding
> Home Schooling Children with Special Needs by Sharon Hensley
> Homeschooling the Challenging Child by Christine Field
-> Extreme makeovers are for extreme circumstances...

Most homeschools don't need an extreme makeover, but there is
something to be said for attention to detail and recognition of
accomplishments. Watch the media and you'll soon see that not
everyone wants home educators and homeschooling to look good.
HSLDA works hard to shed light on the good work of home educators
so it's obvious that we don't need someone "making-over" our
homeschools. Join HSLDA and help us show the world that we're fine
as we are . . . thank you!

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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